Wintery squash soup with herbs


Now that Halloween is over, what to do with those decorative pumpkins and squashes? Throw them away? Not on my watch…

This year I picked up a random pumpkin at the market simply because it looked pretty. After keeping it as a kitchen decoration for a few weeks it was time to make good use of it. I don’t really have any experience of cooking with pumpkins, so I applied my granny’s mantra: If in doubt, make a soup.


A bit of research revealed that my pretty pumpkin was actually a squash – a carnival squash to be precise – and indeed edible (as most of them are). I cooked it with thyme, a little bit of smoked paprika and coconut milk and the result is pretty damn good. This squash has a lovely, savoury flavour and the addition of smoked paprika makes it taste like there might be bacon involved somewhere. (There isn’t; I’m vegetarian.) It’s especially nice when served with a bit of cream cheese or creme fraiche stirred in.

So if you’re just dismantling your Halloween decorations, try this idea and cook up a big pot of warming winter soup.


Makes 4 generous portions

600g squash (I used one carnival squash)
2 celery sticks
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
300ml coconut milk (I use Koko Dairy Free)
300ml water
1 veggie stock cube
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
A few springs fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Light cream cheese or creme fraiche, to serve
Pumpkin seeds, to serve

Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Chop the celery. Fry them in a big saucepan in the olive oil until soft.

Meanwhile peel the squash, remove the seeds and chop into small chunks. Add the squash to the pan and pour over the coconut milk and water. Stir in the stock cube and spices and bring to the boil. Pick the thyme leaves off the stalks and add to the pot.

Simmer on a low heat until the squash chunks are soft. Puree using a food process or or stick blender and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with a dollop of light cream cheese or creme fraiche and sprinkled with some pumpkin seeds.

Yep, I bought some tiny pumpkins just to take soup photos, so I’ll have to figure out what to cook with those next…

Carrot and celeriac soup: a simple winter warmer


Last Saturday I went to my local farmer’s market to try out my new camera and came home with a load of veggies I didn’t really need, simply because they were so beautiful. I love the market in autumn. It’s an absolute feast of colours – from rosy-cheeked apples to vibrant pumpkins, deep violet cabbages and dark green leaves, there’s just no end to the food inspiration it provides.

Among the things I picked up was a bunch of multi-coloured carrots and a celeriac, so I decided to throw the two into a pot together, with minimal fuss and spice. The result was a soup that wins with a simple combination of earthy, autumnal flavours – the sweetness of carrots and the aromatic kick from the celeriac. One to curl up with on a rainy autumn day.


Makes 4 portions

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 celeriac
1 bunch carrots
300ml coconut milk (I use Koko Dairy Free)
1 veggie stock cube or 3 tsp Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder
1 handful parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Veggie prep: Chop the onion and garlic finely. Wash and roughly chop the carrots. Clean, peel and roughly chop the celeriac.

Heat the olive oil in a big pot and fry the onion and garlic until golden. Add the carrots and celeriac, pour over the coconut milk and 300ml hot water, add the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until the carrot and celeriac chunks are soft.

Turn off the heat. Roughly tear up the parsley and add to the pot, then puree the soup until smooth using a stick blender or food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with toasted bread. Goes very well with this lovely rye and spelt bread.